The Rules and Regulations of Window Tint

Adding a bit of tint to your windows is a great way to cut down on the glare of traffic while making your ride look pretty slick. Plus, it protects your interior from bleaching UV rays. While it might be tempting to pick up the darkest tint possible and slap it on your windows, there are rules and laws that actually determine how dark your tint can be. What should you know before you head to the store to buy that tint?

Things to Know

Most states have their own individual rules for the amount of tint that you’re allowed to have on the windows of your car, but there are a few general rules you should keep in mind, including:

  • The percentage you see on the tint boxes? That is the VLT% or Visual Light Transmission. This measurement is the amount of light you can see through the tint. The lower the number, the darker the tint.
  • The VLT% on your front windows will usually be higher than the rear windows or rear windshield. This is designed to make it easier for the driver to see, especially in the dark.
  • You can’t put tint on your windshield in any state.
  • Your state might restrict the tint color that you can use, as well as whether or not the tint is mirrored or reflective.

Rules and Regs

If you’re looking to tint your windows, the first thing to do is look up your state’s laws where window tint is concerned.

Some states, like sunny Florida, allow tint as dark as 28% on the front windows and 15% on the back windows and windshields. Other states, like not so sunny New York, on the other hand, require a 70% VLT for both front and rear windows, though they don’t have any restrictions on the tint you can put on the rear windshield.

There are situations where you can get a medical exemption for your window tint, including light sensitivity, skin cancer and other medical conditions. However, exemptions do require a note from a licensed medical professional.

Wrong Side of the Law

Yes, you will occasionally run across law enforcement officers who will pull you over for no other reason than the tint on your windows. Even if your tint is legal and not darker than the legal limit as determined by the laws of your state, may occasionally find someone who just doesn’t like tint and might take it out on you. If an officer pulls you over and you suspect it might be for your tint, there are a few things to keep in mind, including:

  • Stay calm, be respectful, and do as the officer tells you. This should be common sense, but it bears repeating.
  • Make sure they use an official tint tester. Some cops might hold your driver’s license up to your window and claim that it’s too dark if they can’t read the information. This is not an official test.
  • If you get a ticket, know that you can fight it in court.

It’s always important to be as respectful as possible when you get pulled over, no matter what the situation is. Police officers are often a little harsher than they need to be where tint is concerned.

Not only does tinting your windows help cut down on the glare from sun and headlights, it protects your car’s interior from the harsh UV rays that can bleach your dash and seats. Just make sure you know what the rules and regulations are in your state before you pick up the first roll of tint.

Scott Huntington, an automotive writer from central Pennsylvania has his own blog called Off the Throttle and feel welcome to follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.

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One Response to “The Rules and Regulations of Window Tint”

  1. Chris says:

    Nice post. It’s really informational. Actually, I live in Woodstock, Georgia and there are different rules of window tinting. I have Sedan and the rules applied to me:

    Windshield: Non-reflective tint is allowed on the top 6 inches of the windshield.
    Front Side windows: Must allow more than 32% of light in.
    Back Side windows: Must allow more than 32% of light in.
    Rear Window: Must allow more than 32% of light in.